Say what you think and mean what you say.
Not a bad adage at all. People will like you for your honesty and integrity, two of the most important human attributes.
Indeed without these two, we would be far less successful as a species for we would not have commerce, collaboration or cooperation. Nor would we have science, technology and engineering for these are professions built on self-policing rules that fail without honesty.
Australians have a reputation for saying what they think — they are keen on the first part of the adage.
Many are larrikins too, with a healthy disregard for convention. It is ok to play golf in thongs or even bare feet.
And after living in Australia for 25 years, I have to say that Australians mean what they say for the most part. Although sometimes I am not sure they think before spouting forth, another expression of larrikinism.
Author Lech Blaine suggests that conservative politicians in Australia have commandeered this straight-shooting on the fringes into a blue-collar revolution for their political ends.
Stupid white men wearing white shirts pretending to be working class is an odd image.
These well-educated and affluent individuals would never dream of playing golf in thongs. They only pretend to be among the masses, especially the working-class battlers, because this is where elections are won.
In one of the most complex voting systems in the world with two-foot ballot papers and weirdness with preferences, Liberal governments win enough seats not by playing to their rusted-on base of conservative support but by pretending to represent the undecided in a handful of seats at each election. And these swing voters are not in the cities; they are in the suburbs and the rural areas.
Now the shirt-wearing men not only have to pretend to wear overalls but drive a tractor too.
The men courting the battlers never shoot straight. They are the ignoble larrikins. They prefer to be on holiday in Hawaii than in front of the wildfire and anonymously report the thong wearer to the golf club chairman.
They lie and cheat and pork-barrel their way into the top political jobs.
And we let them.
As the French Ambassador to Australia said, “What you say in confidence … will eventually be used and weaponised against you one day.”
Shame on us.
Hero image modified from a Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash